Monthly Archives: September 2017

Ever-Changing Field of Engineering

The Ever-Changing Field of Engineering 

by Kayla Hillegass

Kayla Hillegass 2

Engineering is a growing and ever-changing field of work full of problem solvers and go-getters. Yet everyone is not an engineer, which is why learning about a profession before jumping in headfirst is very important when making career choices. Taking part in engineering camps, engineer day events/activities, internships or other enrichment, allows students to learn more about the Engineering field and exposes them to this career more than an internet search could ever do. Some students might not have a close family member or friend that is in their field of interest, so these activities are great exposure to this career.

Everyone would benefit from some type of career exploration to help find their future path and to see how to keep on the road towards their preferred career. High school aged students make these important life decisions before graduation with many unsure or unprepared for life after high school. Exploration in college is an expensive way to decide their career path so internships before college gives students the opportunity to pursue their interests in different careers. Too often students change their major multiple times in college trying to decide what they want to do, costing them both time and money. Giving highschool students the opportunity to see job fields that interest them could help them decide if this is the field of study they want to explore in college.

Taking part in internships during college also helps further enhance the education experience and allows for translation from classroom to real world. Internships let employers impart their knowledge and experience onto a student in hopes that it can help the student decide what they want to do in their life (or not do). Even if the student determines that it is not the field for them, more often than not the people they interact with at a company might have connections or experiences in other fields of work. Networking is the key, so starting early and establishing interest in a field gives the students a chance to make connections with future employers and gives employers future potential employees. Having an early internship or job shadowing experience shows signs of maturity on the students' end to figure out their future career, which is an added bonus to employers especially for future internships or jobs.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I felt that it was the best profession to help people because I did not want to go into the medical field at all. It wasn’t until I did a high school project on a future career that I took a step back and realized that maybe I didn’t want to be a teacher, after all. After some encouragement from my parents (and them pointing out very obvious skills that I had in logic, problem solving, math, and science), I did my project on environmental engineering. The school project kickstarted more career searching until I realized that environmental engineering is just a small subset of the future degree that I would be pursuing at the University of Akron: Civil Engineering. I attended some engineering career days and a women in engineering, weeklong summer camp during high school, which further solidified my desireto be a Civil Engineer. Now entering my senior year at UA, I look back on all my internships and early high school engineering activities and can clearly see how beneficial they were in helping me develop as a young engineer and in helping me decide what I want to look for in my future career. I highly encourage high schoolers to explore careers that interest them and learn more about what you want to do with their lives.

 As I finish out my senior year and search for a full-time job, I know that my early engineering experiences and college internships have reinforced my career choice as a civil engineer.

A Connection With Purpose

A Connection With Purpose

By Rob Frutchey

Robfrutcheyakrontbm082017 Resized

Our Construction Management Team for the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) has had the good fortune of interacting with Akron’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students in the workplace, classrooms, and field trips.  Through these interactions I have consistently seen youth who are motivated and excited to learn more about the OCIT and how it will make a difference for the future of Akron and for our environment.  After much reflection, I have found myself inspired with the students’ deep and intent gaze as their inquisitive minds ask seemingly never-ending questions about the largest infrastructure project in Akron’s history.  I have truly been struck by their keen desire to be connected with a purpose; that is, these students express a sincere and meaningful interest to be connected with an important cause and mission. 

This is where the All-Akron Student Engineering Program (AASEP) comes in – providing an incredible opportunity for Akron High School students to feel connected to a purpose.  Through work shadowing, our AASEP students are exposed to projects that will ultimately protect public health and maintain water quality with the OCIT and Combined Sewer Storage Basins.  Students also worked on Akron’s Ronald McDonald House, a place that helps families live locally to access specialized medical treatment.  The OCIT, Combined Sewer Storage Basins and Ronald McDonald House are just a few examples – examples of projects where I saw Akron High School students interested in learning more, with a keen desire to understand how they could help make a difference. 

The AASEP opened my eyes to see a generation that wants to be connected with a purpose.  While that purpose may take many forms, it is clear that we have a generation that is ready to creatively define a better world.  Patanjali said “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds.  Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.  Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”  The AASEP provides hands-on opportunities for Akron’s High School students to see inspiration of such a great purpose, to see how their STEM career could ultimately help them make a real difference in Akron and our environment for generations to come.